Creatively Transforming Food

1-2-3-4 Cake


1-2-3-4-Cake is reminiscent of memories made in my grandmother’s kitchen. It is a timeless, old-fashioned classic cake worthy of any special occasion. Even though my grandmother’s cookbook, an old ledger book filled with family favorites, was possibly acquired by some older family members after she moved out of her house. I only have visual memories, specifically of a coconut cake sitting on her freezer in the porch waiting for someone to pick it up. She often made cakes upon request for friends in the community, especially during the Christmas season.

1-2-3-4 Cake derives its name from the main ingredients used for this simple dessert perfection: 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 4 eggs. Instead of using self-rising flour as most recipes seem to call for, I use all-purpose flour with baking powder additions. My favorite flour to use is White Lily brand. Because it is a softer milled flour,  an addition 6 tablespoons, 2 for each cup used in recipe, is recommended per package instructions.

Now, If you don’t need a huge cake, but want a little piece of heaven, you could easily split the ingredients in half.  I used 2-6″ cake pans and baked them for about the same length of time to create a celebratory cake for my neighbor who walked 39.3 miles in an Avon39 walk for breast cancer research held recently in DC.  She’s my hero! Isn’t it the cutest thing? I’ll post the fabulous Coconut Buttercream Frosting soon, Don’t worry.

Measure the dry ingredients in a small bowl and whisk them together; set aside. Soften butter out of the refrigerator if you don’t have time for it to reach room temperature by placing it in the microwave for 10-12 seconds. Whip butter with whisk attachment of mixer. Sift the sugar and add it to butter.

Sift the sugar and add it to butter. Beat until light and creamy.

Beat in eggs one at a time. Add in vanilla.

Add in buttermilk alternately with dry ingredients. Continue to beat until light and airylace batter in pans which have been lined with parchment paper, a must for a quick release after cooking. I spray the bottom and sides with a baker’s spray or you could butter and flour them instead.

Distribute batter equally  between your prepared pans. I actually check the weight on scales, otherwise, eyeball it. Smooth out batter and place on middle racks in the oven.

Bake for 30-35  minutes. Toothpick entered in center should come out clean. Oh, my Gosh! I wish you could smell its sweet, buttery aroma! They need to create scratch and sniff pictures.

Allow cakes to cool on rack about 5 minutes before removing them from pans. They must cool completely before icing.  These can be made ahead of time  to use within a few days. Just  wrap tightly in plastic and frozen until ready to use.

1-2-3-4 Cake
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 t. baking powder
  • 1 c. butter, room temperature
  • 2 c. sugar, sifted
  • 4 large eggs,
  • 1½ t. vanilla
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 3 round cake pans with parchment paper and a butter and flour dusting.
  3. Combine dry ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  5. Add eggs one at a time.
  6. Blend vanilla with milk. '
  7. Add milk alternately with dry ingredients.
  8. Evenly spoon batter into the three pans. Level.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool on cooling rack.
  11. Frost as desired.